This article is in need of a Photo.To add an image to this page, click "Edit" then click the "Files" button.

750 West Southwood Drive
9.288 acres
(530) 661-2000

John Ferns Park (a.k.a. Ferns Park) is a park located on the northeast corner of Ashley Avenue and West Southwood Drive in west Woodland. It is connected on its north side to Daniels Street by North Ferns Alley and adjacent on its east side to T. L. Whitehead Elementary School.

Ferns Park features a disc golf course, a handball wall, an inline skating area, a bicycle playground (a place for kids and adults to practice bike skills in conditions mimicking real-life street conditions but out of harm’s way), a nature area with a walking trail, a playground, barbecues, sheltered picnic tables, and restrooms. Ferns Park can be reserved for private use.

The southwest corner of Ferns Park is a point of intersection between the Crosstown Bike Connector and the West Bike Loop.

Disc Golf

The Ferns Park Disc Golf Course was installed in 1980. It is a flat course with concrete tees and Mach X targets. The course is a total of 2,163 feet long, with eight holes under 300 feet long and one hole a little over 300 feet long. There are some trees on the course, but foliage is fairly sparse.

Nature Area

The Ferns Park Nature Area was originally installed in 1979, then rebuilt in 2021 after many of the original plants had died. Many of the plants that died were riparian plants, and Ferns Park is not a riparian area. These plants could have survived with regular irrigation, but it's likely that they weren't consistently watered for the fill 32-year timespan. Some other plants that died were planted outside of their native range or were inherently short-lived or disease-prone species, but it's likely that regular care could have saved many more of the plants. The surviving species should be considered extraordinarily tough. Here are the plants from the original 1979 landscape plan, divided into categories according to their survival rates by species:

All of These Plants Died Before 2021 Some of These Plants Survived from 1979 until 2021  All of These Plants Survived from 1979 until 2021
  • one Acer macrophyllum - Bigleaf Maple
  • five Alnus rhombifolia - White Alder
  • six Arctostaphylos manzanita - Common Manzanita
  • one Atriplex canescens - Fourwing Saltbush
  • one Baccharis pilularis 'Twin Peaks' - Dwarf Coyote Brush
  • three Calycanthus occidentalis - Spicebush
  • one Ceanothus cuneatus - Buckbrush
  • three Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis - Carmel Creeper Wild Lilac
  • one Ceanothus thyrsiflorus - Wild Lilac
  • one Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Millerton Point' - Wild Lilac
  • three Ceanothus 'Frosty Blue' - Wild Lilac
  • one Ceanothus 'Julia Phelps' - Wild Lilac
  • two Ceanothus 'Sierra Blue' - Wild Lilac
  • three Cercis occidentalis - California Redbud
  • one Epilobium canum - California Fuchsia
  • one Equisetum hyemale - Horsetail
  • one Fremontodendron californicum - Flannelbush
  • ten Heteromeles arbutifolia - Toyon
  • one Philadelphus lewisii - Wild Mock Orange
  • six Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii - Catalina Cherry
  • one Rhamnus crocea - Redberry
  • one Romneya coulteri - Matilija Poppy
  • three Salvia sonomensis  - Creeping Sage
  • one Simmondsia chinensis - Jojoba
  • one Spiraea douglasii - Western Spiraea
  • two Aesculus californica - California Buckeye (one survived)
  • two Artemisia tridentata - Big Sagebrush (one survived)
  • five Berberis aquifolium 'Compacta' - Oregon Grape (three survived)
  • three Calocedrus decurrens - Incense Cedar (two survived)
  • two Pinus jeffreyi - Jeffrey Pine (one survived)
  • three Quercus douglasii - Blue Oak (two survived)
  • two Quercus wislizenii - Interior Live Oak (one survived)
  • six Rhamnus californica - Coffeeberry (two survived)
  • nine Sequoia sempervirens - Coast Redwood (three survived)
  • one Cerocarpus betuloides - Mountain Mahogany
  • one Pinus sabiniana - Foothill Pine
  • three Quercus agrifolia - Coast Live Oak
  • one Sambucus mexicana - Blue Elderberry
  • two Umbellularia californica - California Bay Laurel

The 2021 landscape plan features the following species:

New in 2021 Survived from 1979 Died the First Time Around but Replanted in 2021
  • Abutilon palmeri - Indian Mallow 
  • Arctostaphylos bakeri 'Louis Edmunds' - Manzanita ‘Louis Edmunds’
  • Artemisia californica - California Sagebrush
  • Carpenteria californica - Bush Anemone
  • Ceanothus ‘Joyce Coulter’ - Wild Lilac
  • Chilopsis linearis - Desert Willow
  • Eriogonum arborescens - Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat
  • Iris douglasiana - Douglas Iris
  • Pinus ponderosa - Ponderosa Pine
  • Polystichum munitum - Sword Fern
  • Pteridium aquilinum - Bracken Fern
  • Quercus lobata - Valley Oak
  • Ribes malvaceum ‘Montara Rose’ - Chaparral Currant
  • Ribes viburnifolium - Evergreen Currant
  • Salvia spathacea - Hummingbird Sage
  • Styrax officinalis ssp. redivivus - California Snowdrop Bush
  • Aesculus californica - California Buckeye (one of two survived)
  • Artemisia tridentata - Big Sagebrush (one of two survived)
  • Berberis aquifolium 'Compacta' - Oregon Grape (three of five survived)
  • Calocedrus decurrens - Incense Cedar (two of three survived)
  • Cerocarpus betuloides - Mountain Mahogany (one of one survived)
  • Pinus jeffreyi - Jeffrey Pine (one of two survived)
  • Pinus sabiniana - Foothill Pine (one of one survived)
  • Quercus agrifolia - Coast Live Oak (all three survived)
  • Quercus douglasii - Blue Oak (two of three survived)
  • Quercus wislizenii - Interior Live Oak (one of two survived)
  • Rhamnus californica - Coffeeberry (two of six survived)
  • Sambucus mexicana - Blue Elderberry (one of one survived)
  • Sequoia sempervirens - Coast Redwood (three of nine survived, and a fourth one was newly planted)
  • Umbellularia californica - California Bay Laurel (both survived)


Non-Native Trees

In addition to the native plants in the nature area, many non-native plants are also growing at Ferns Park. These include three invasive weed species: Purple-leaf Plum/Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera), Flowering Pear/Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana), and Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera). Other non-native trees and shrubs at Ferns Park are Trident Maple (Acer buergeranum), Hedge Maple (Acer campestre), Red Maple (Acer rubrum), River Birch (Betula nigra), Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara), Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba), English Walnut (Juglans regia), Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), European Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis), Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Photinia (Photinia × fraseri), Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis), London Plane (Platanus × hispanica), Oriental Arborvitae (Platycladus orientalis), Holly Oak (Quercus ilex), and Saw-leaf Zelkova (Zelkova serrata).


"Fire Destroys Playground" by Crystal Lee, Daily Democrat, July 17, 2007

"Ferns Park Playground Past, and Real News" by Jim Smith, Daily Democrat, July 20, 2007

"Ferns Park to Be Rebuilt" by Luke Gianni, Daily Democrat, July 25, 2007

"'Poison' water still being flushed at Woodland's Ferns Park" by Elizabeth Kalfsbeek, Daily Democrat, July 19, 2012

"Locally Lost: A Round of Disc Golf at John Ferns Park" by Hans Peter, Daily Democrat, October 18, 2017

"Ferns Park Nature Area to Showcase Native Trees and Shrubs Saturday Morning" by Carlos Guerrero, Daily Democrat, June 10, 2022

"Bike Friendly Improvements Coming to Woodland" by Lisa Montanaro, Daily Democrat, November 25, 2022